Settlement reached in civil case against police, prosecutors

ELLSWORTH — A saga that started with accusations of spousal rape in 2007 and continued with prosecutorial misconduct has resulted in a settlement of a civil suit.

Former Gouldsboro resident Vladek Filler, now of Atlanta, Ga., has settled a civil suit that he brought against 17 prosecutors from Hancock and Washington counties, sheriff’s deputies and police officers as well as against Hancock County and the city of Ellsworth.

“My reaction is that it was a wonderful resolution for Vladek,” said his attorney, Thomas Hallett of the Portland firm Hallett Whipple Weyrens. “It confirmed the violations he suffered at the hands of the authorities.”

The resolution resulted in $375,000 for Filler.

“This is a significant amount for the state and various entities to pay out for the constitutional violations, which occurred,” Hallett said. “It was hard fought.”

A spokesman for Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said the office had no comment.

The foundation of the civil case goes back 11 years ago.

In 2007, Filler was prosecuted for allegations of sexual assault made by his former wife during their child custody dispute.

Filler was initially indicted on five counts of gross sexual assault and two counts of assault of his then wife.

After two trials — and two appeals to the Maine Law Court — Filler was convicted only of one misdemeanor assault count, which was eventually dismissed.

The Maine Board of Overseers to the Bar suspended prosecutor Mary Kellett for 30 days in 2013 after she acknowledged to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that she violated Bar rules during Filler’s 2009 criminal trial. The suspension was suspended.

In 2015, Filler filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against 18 defendants alleging the withholding, tampering and destruction of exculpatory evidence, conspiracy, malicious prosecution and defamation.

Kellett and prosecutor Paul Cavanaugh sought to have Filler’s lawsuit against them dismissed, but in a 78-page decision, the federal court denied the motions.

Integrity4Maine, an organization that has followed the case, states that Filler’s civil rights lawsuit against state prosecutors is the first known case in Maine to overcome prosecutorial immunity and receive a settlement for claims of prosecutorial misconduct.

One of the 18 defendants in the civil case, Linda Gleason, a former hospital worker who testified during Filler’s criminal trial, has yet to settle, according to Hallett.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

Latest posts by Jennifer Osborn (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.